You have certainly heard the word “anxiety” a lot, but what does it mean to genuinely feel anxiety? Being constantly worried or showing excessive dread are just some of the most common symptoms of anxiety. Everyone occasionally worries about things, but having anxiety means that your worries significantly interfere with your daily life.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 in 13 people worldwide suffer from anxiety, making anxiety the most prevalent mental health issue in the world. If you believe you are experiencing anxiety, let this be a comfort that you are not alone! There are also multiple proven treatment methods for anxiety.
Most anxiety conditions involve several or all of the symptoms listed below. However, depending on your specific experience anxiety symptoms might vary. The following signs and symptoms are the most commonly experienced in generalized anxiety disorder: (GAD).
- Tension and Irritability
- Depressed mood
- Fearing the worst
- Constant worry
- Seeking reassurance from others
- Disassociation to world (Feeling like the world or situations aren’t real)
- Disassociation to self- (Feeling like you aren’t connected to yourself)
- Feeling faint or disoriented
- Feeling overheated or perspiring
- Higher heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Issues with the digestive system
- Hyperventilating or rapid breathing
- Nausea or stomach pain
- Body aches
- Feeling weak and exhausted.
- Alterations in sex drive
Specific Types of Anxiety
There are many forms of anxiety. It can be helpful to understand and identify exactly what you are experiencing so that you can choose next steps.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder or G.A.D. is the most common anxiety disorder and generally what people are referring to when they say they “have anxiety”. Most of the time, people with GAD experience anxiety and worry without necessarily being in a stressful setting. They frequently anticipate the worst-case situation and struggle to restrain these negative thoughts and feelings.
Generalized anxiety disorder can negatively impact your everyday life because it produces uncontrollable worry. It can feel impossible to concentrate on what you are attempting to accomplish. It interferes with relationships, sleeping, eating, working, and tasks of daily living.
Social anxiety is categorized as extreme dread of social situations and speaking in front of others. If you suffer from social anxiety, you may find yourself worrying about being mocked, attacked, or judged by others. Being forced to hang out with strangers or being around sizable crowds of people may make you feel extremely uneasy.
Meeting new people, dating, giving a speech in front of an audience, striking up a conversation, and eating in public are some of the situations when social anxiety may manifest itself most frequently. While these situations may not seem nerve-wracking to some, they can be devastating for someone who has social anxiety.
Although you’ve definitely heard of panic attacks before, you may not be aware that panic attacks can be part of a diagnosable mental health disorder. Recurrent and unanticipated panic attacks are indications of panic disorder. Every panic attack can be a terrifying experience, and this can be quite disruptive to daily life!
Other symptoms can include heart palpitations, uncontrollable shaking, hyperventilation, and disorientation. These symptoms can occur suddenly, leaving you with a high level of anxiety and paralyzing fear. Although you feel at risk, it’s important to know that a panic attack cannot kill you.
There are many different treatment options for anxiety. Everybody responds differently to treatment methods and people often need a combination of treatments to adequately address the symptoms. Counseling and medication are the two main methods of anxiety treatment. Remember that this list is not all-inclusive.
- Counseling for Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of therapy and is frequently used to treat depression and anxiety. The goal of CBT is to both identify and disrupt negative thought patterns in order to alter your thoughts, behaviors, and therefore your emotion.
- Applied Relaxation Therapy
This form of treatment can effectively treat the physical symptoms of anxiety. In order to help the body calm down, it requires recognizing situations that could potentially cause panic and learning how to apply muscle relaxation techniques.
- Anxiety Medications
For some, therapy alone may not be successful. Medication can be an effective approach for those with intense symptoms, or those not seeing improvement through therapy alone. Treatment with medication can be used for a short time until symptoms subside or for years. It is important to note that medication affects everyone differently and can come with an array of side effects. Please speak with a qualified medical professional in order to determine your need for medication or about stopping a current medication.
An essential component of being able to take care of yourself is having an understanding of your own mental health, as well as treatment options.
If you are ready to begin the journey of overcoming your anxiety, we are here for you! At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of caring therapists who are highly trained in helping you work through anxiety and create a life you want. The next step is to call us at (405) 921-7776. We hope to meet you soon!